• Sylvain Lupari

Craig Padilla & Skip Murphy: Phantasma (2006)

Updated: Feb 10

This is a quiet album which doesn't revolutionize the genre but which is pleasant to listen by a rainy Sunday

1 Shadowed Transistion 11:09

2 Eternal Path 9:02

3 Sleepwalking 5:21

4 A Midnight Muse 5:32

5 Illusions 14:52

6 Phantasma 25:48

Groove GR 137

(CD 71:46) (V.F.)

(Ambient Music)

PHANTASMA is the 3rd album resulting from this collaboration between Craig Padilla and Skip Murphy. And like with the two volumes of Planetary Elements, the duo of American synthesists offers us a mainly ambient opus with a few sequenced passages where the rhythms are controlled in order to maintain this deeply atmospheric mood.

And it's in absolute tranquility that Shadowed Transition begins. At the crossroads of the serene movements of Steve Roach and Michael Stearns, the music floats on good multidimensional layers with subtly evolving tones. A dense and deep cosmos which gives the taste to rock there and which merges in Eternal Path where a good movement of the sequencer emerges from a distant buzz. Thin loops encircle the track with minimalist softness on superb orchestral synth strata. The sequence is subdivided to escape notes which undulate melodiously, further enriching Eternal Path. Sleepwalking and A Midnight Muse espouse the same structures as the first two titles. Illusions is a long atmospheric title in the colors of a dark cosmos. A long static movement that evolves between analog galactic sound effects and sober synths that continues into the dramatic limbo of the title-track which continues the sluggish movement before shaking its sequencer around the 12th minute. And the jolt is more dense than moving. Heavy layers that get stuck in a dark and inert ambience, without making waves or rhythms. A heavy title in the image of the entire opus. On the press guide this CD is touted as retro sequenced Berlin School. I don't know what the public relations people base themselves on to say such a thing, but it's like taking customers for pigeons. The only sequenced element of PHANTASMA is… indecisive. Those who love intense and dark soaring music will be fooling around with this new effort from Padilla & Murphy. Those who expect sequenced movements at Berlin School will have to listen elsewhere!

PHANTASMA is a quiet opus that does not revolutionize the genre. The American duo nestles in the comfort of a style that they maintain without seeking to go further since their very beginnings. A fair CD which has less charms than Planetary Elements but which is pleasantly listened by a beautiful rainy Sunday.

Sylvain Lupari (October 15th, 2006) *****

SynthSequences.com

Available at Groove nl

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